Fitzpatrick seeks policy extension for DEA to better control fentanyl-related drugs

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) on Nov. 21 introduced a bipartisan bill that would give the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) a longer deadline to list fentanyl-related drugs as Schedule I substances, which are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

“Fentanyl is a manufactured opioid, which — especially in its illicit versions — is extremely dangerous and illegal imports of these synthetic opioids have spiked in the past three years,” Rep. Fitzpatrick said.

The additional two years provided for under his bill would allow Congress and federal agencies more time to collaborate on finding a permanent solution for improving law enforcement’s control over fentanyl-like substances as they seek to end the nation’s opioid epidemic, according to a statement released by Rep. Fitzpatrick’s office.

The congressman sponsored the Extend Act, H.R. 5233, with bill cosponsor U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH), to extend the current February 2020 deadline to February 2022. The lawmakers are both co-chairs of the Bipartisan Heroin and Opioid Taskforce.

“Our nation’s drug epidemic is a complicated issue and our response must be multi-faceted,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “The DEA needs to keep fighting these substances on the frontlines and the Extend Act will maintain a valuable tool for them to utilize.”

H.R. 5233 has been referred for consideration to both the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.